Shrinking of Airline Seats and Passenger Space
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WHEREAS, airlines have steadily shrunk airline passenger seat size and legroom (aka pitch) over the past 37 years, while at the same time the average passenger size, weight and age has substantially increased;
WHEREAS, the US Federal Aviation Administration/Department of Transportation (FAA/DOT), as the sole government airline regulator, has failed to regulate seat size and passenger space;
WHEREAS, airlines have individually and through their trade association opposed any passenger minimum seat and space standards, and some have recently expressed the intention to further reduce already cramped seat and passenger space;
WHEREAS, four US airlines (American, Delta, Southwest, and United) now control over 85% of all domestic flights and three joint ventures control most international flights, so airline competition is limited to nonexistent;
WHEREAS, US airlines have reduced the number of flights in the face of rising demand resulting in about 86% of all seats being occupied instead of the historical 50-60% occupancy rate;
WHEREAS, the 10% of passengers who weigh over 250 pounds or who are over 6’ 2”, cannot fit into most seats so they must encroach onto neighboring passengers or into the aisle;
WHEREAS, the average man’s shoulder width now exceeds the width of most airline seats;
WHEREAS, the FAA has failed to conduct real life testing as to whether passengers in reduced seats and space can safely evacuate in emergency conditions;
WHEREAS, the World Health Organization and other medical authorities have warned of higher risks of life threatening blood clots (DVT) caused by cramped seats and lack of movement on flights over 3 hours;
WHEREAS, there has been a reported increase in incidents of discord and unruly passenger disruptions due to overcrowding;
AND WHEREAS, there are space standards and rules for air transport of animals and prisoners but not regular passengers;
NOW THEREFORE, the undersigned support the Flyersrights.org petition submitted to the FAA in August 2015 calling for the FAA -
- To set minimum seat and passenger space standards,
- To appoint a balanced and representative advisory committee to help develop such standards, and
- To issue an order promptly prohibiting further shrinkage of airline seat size and passenger space, while a rulemaking proceeding on seat and passenger space standards is pending
So as to protect public safety, health and convenience of air travel.
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